The musical version of the classic 1946 holiday-set film "It's a Wonderful Life" features book and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler of Roof, She Loves Me) and music by Joe Raposo ("Sesame Street"). In the Houston staging Dvorsky will star as George Bailey — the role immortalized on screen by Jimmy Stewart — with Illes as his wife, Mary Hatch Bailey.
The story, according to press notes, follows "George Bailey, who has a heart of gold but has long felt like a failure. When George wonders what life would be like if he had never been born, an angel shows him how different the world would be if he didn't exist."
Rounding out the TUTS cast are Erik Devine (Matthew), Michael Arnold (Ernie Bishop), Kevin Cooney (Uncle Billy), David Koch (Sam Wainwright), Hal Robinson (Henry Potter), Susan Shofner (Milly Bailey), Corby Sullivan (Harry Bailey), Michael Tapley (Bert) and Patrick Richwood (Clarence).
The Wonderful Life ensemble cast includes Gary Bankston, John Berno, Marybelle Chaney, Ven Daniel, Angela Kristin Dickens, Ashlee Fife, Nkrumah Gatling, Mitchell Greco, Mark Laskowski, Reid Lee, Philip Lehl, Pamela M. Moore, Theresa Nelson, Marc Oka, Briana Resa, Krissy Richmond, Jim Shaffer, Christina Stroup, Lee Jane Walker, Karl Warden and Paige Wheat and Nirayl Wilcox. Joining the student ensemble are performers from The Academy at TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre, which includes Michael Bevan, Sam Burkett, Sarah Burkett, Chris Canal, Sydney Crofton, Jack Delac, Maureen Fenninger, Jessica Ferguson, Noelle Flores, Trey Harrington, Mark Jackson, Trey Stoker, Caroline Taylor, Emily Thompson, Charity Van Tassel and Samantha West.
Dvorsky's Broadway credits include The Scarlet Pimpernel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Passion and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He was seen in the Off-Broadway productions of Pete 'n' Keely and Dames at Sea. Mary Illes has appeared on Broadway in The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Music Man and She Loves Me.
TUTS artistic director Roy Hamlin directs with choreography by Paula Sloan. The creative team will also include Ed Goldschneider (musical direction/conductor), Charlie Smith (scenic designer), Ray Delle Robbins (costume coordinator), Richard Winkler (lighting designer) and Christopher "Kit" Bond (sound designer).
Tickets for the TUTS presentation of A Wonderful Life, playing through Dec. 23, are available by calling (888) 558-3882 or by visiting www.TUTS.org.